Do you need a TV antenna amplifier?

If you’ve jumped on the over-the-air TV bandwagon and have installed a digital antenna but feel like there’s still room for improvement in the reception, a TV booster might be your best bet. In some cases, even after installing a high-quality antenna, you still might be lacking reliable reception. This could be due to a weak or low-quality signal strength received by your antenna. A TV antenna booster, also known as an amplifier, is a product that can amplify the incoming signal before it reaches the TV to boost it to a sufficient level. They increase the signal’s strength, creating a better viewing experience for the user.

Choosing the best booster is essential because if you select the wrong one, you can make matters even worse. However, selecting the right one can give you a clearer picture with less pixelation and less picture disruption.

People in rural areas are prone to weak signals due to the long distance from transmitters or nearby areas that interfere with reception like hills or wooded areas. According to Solid Signal, the only thing you need to worry about is whether the signal is stronger than the noise around it. If the signal is generally decent but occasionally drops out due to trees or weather, an amplifier may not help.

TV antenna boosters pick up frequencies that TV signals are broadcast on (VHF and/or UHF), but if other radio waves are broadcast on or near those VHF or UHF frequencies, the antenna will also enhance those signals.

If signals are low and don’t produce a high-quality picture, it’s time to try a booster. A booster might also be necessary if you’re trying to push signals to two or more televisions from the same antenna. When looking for a booster, it’s important to know which kind you need. TV antenna boosters can be divided into two categories: preamplifiers (or masts) and distribution amplifiers.

A satellite dish and TV antenna are together on a home's roof.

Preamplifiers compensate for signal loss that occurs in long cable runs and are usually placed outdoors near the TV antenna. Look for a preamplifier that will produce enough gain to make up for the lost signal. Distribution amplifiers increase signal loss due to splitters. So if you have multiple TVs or receivers, this might be for you. In some cases, you might need both.

If you think you need a preamplifier, it’s a good idea to check your antenna cable first. If the cable is used as an external antenna or it’s been installed for a while, it may have received a certain degree of moisture, which can cause it to attenuate or reduce signal strength. If this is the case, a new booster won’t solve the problem.

Proper installation is a must. Incorrect installation of a TV amplifier can cause radio signal interference due to overload, distortion or oscillation. It can also mess with your cell phone and two-way radio communications systems. If your TV and antenna are far apart from each other, an amplifier can help. If you think you could benefit from installing a booster, here a few highly rated ones on Amazon.

GE Indoor HD Digital TV Antenna Amplifier 

Designed to boost signal by enhancing and amplifying the signal received, this GE Indoor HD Digital TV Antenna Amplifier also improves signal-to-noise ratio and compensates for cable loss. Simply connect the amplifier to the TV and your antenna and plug in the AC power adapter (included) to the wall. It’s currently on sale for $14.99.

Amazon user Victoria P. said she didn’t expect such good results given the low price point but found it helped her receive excellent daytime reception on all channels.

Antennas Direct ClearStream Juice VHF/UHF Low-Noise Preamplifier System 

Antennas Direct ClearStream Juice

On sale for $72, this ClearStream Juice VHF/UHF Low-Noise Preamplifier System can help people overcome challenges with coaxial cables over 100 feet, weak signals and splitters. It works to boost reception in urban, suburban and rural areas and comes with an average rating of 4.2 out of 5 stars.

This product helped Amazon user David L. receive over 90 channels, which is quite a step up from the 60 he said he had been receiving befo. The Juice Preamplifier System not only increases weak signals but also rejects interference from cellular and wireless data services.

Antennas Direct 4-Port TV Distribution Amplifier

Antennas direct 4-port tv distribution amplifier

Households looking to access OTA TV on multiple TVs could benefit from this TV distribution amplifier from Antennas Direct. One antenna can connect to four TVs for a clear, consistent viewing experience. With more than 1,900 global ratings and an average rating of 4.2 stars out of 5, users found this amplifier to be easy to install and weatherproof and appreciated the tech support for troubleshooting that comes along with it. It’s on sale for $54.

If you are taking advantage of OTA TV but want to connect one antenna to multiple TVs or don’t feel like the viewing experience is up to par, a TV antenna booster might be right for you.

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